After a testy first half which saw France take a somewhat undeserved lead, things ran a bit smoother in the second half of the World Cup final, setting up a 4-2 French victory over Croatia, giving Les Bleus their second World Cup title, with Didier Deschamps joining Mario Zagalo and Franz Beckenbauer as the only people to win the World Cup as players and head coaches.
France 4 Croatia 2 (Match Highlights)
A match that developed similarly to that in the semi final for the French, who deployed a bend but not break approach. Croatia pressed them early, but the first set piece for France resulted in an own goal by Mario Mandzukic. Croatia came back with an Ivan Perisic goal, but the Inter standout handballed in the penalty box, and the VAR gave Antoine Griezmann the opportunity to put France back in the lead, this time for good. 2-1 before the halftime whistle.
In the second half, Croatia kept pushing, and France kept exploiting the space left behind. First it was Paul Pogba after nice buildup work by Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe. Followed by the 19-year old phenom himself, beating a Danijel Subasic who wasn’t on his best day to make it 4-1. Mandzukic scored a weird goal born in Hugo Lloris arrogance, but it wasn’t enough, as France won the World Cup for the second time, 20 years after their first title, only two years after losing in the Euro final at home.
A fourth consecutive World Cup title for Europe. Croatia with the tears of sadness, knowing how rare an opportunity is like this for someone out of the big boys club. France, like Argentina, Germany, Italy and Brazil, are multiple time World Champions.
6 goals: Harry Kane (England)
4 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe (France)
3 goals: Artem Dzyuba (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Yerry Mina (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)
2 goals: Mile Jedinak (Australia), Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic (Croatia), Philippe Coutinho, Neymar (Brazil), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), John Stones (England), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Son Heung-Min (South Korea), Andreas Granqvist (Sweden), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Sergio Agüero (Argentina), Takashi Inui (Japan), Paul Pogba (France)
1 goal: Yuri Gazinsky, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Jose Maria Gimenez (Uruguay), Nacho, Isco, Iago Aspas (Spain), Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti (France), Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo, Angel di Maria, Gabriel Mercado (Argentina), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Christian Eriksen,Yussuf Poulsen, Mathias Jorgensen (Denmark), Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela, Chicharito (México), Paulinho, Thiago Silva, Roberto Firmino, Renato Augusto (Brazil), Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Blerim Dzemaili, Josip Drmic (Switzerland), Ola Toivonen, Ludwig Augustinsson, Emil Forsberg (Sweden), Dries Mertens, Michy Batshuayi, Adnan Januzaj, Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli, Kevin de Bruyne, Thomas Meunier (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi, Dylan Bronn, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef(Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osaka, Keisuke Honda, Genki Haraguchi (Japan), Juan Quintero, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado (Colombia), M’Baye Niang, Sadio Mane, Moussa Wague (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jan Bednarek (Poland), Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic, Andrej Kramaric, (Croatia), Kim Young-Gwon (South Korea), Marco Reus (Germany), Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli, Kevin Trippier (England), Felipe Baloy (Panama), Salman Al Faraj, Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia), Ricardo Quaresma, Pepe (Portugal), Khalid Boutaib, Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco), Karim Ansarifard (Irán), Andre Carrillo, Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Kendall Watson (Costa Rica)
That’s it. Four years until the next one in Qatar 2022.